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Mr. Levin 48, Afghanistan 31, Michigan 19, Tricare 17, Us 16, Oklahoma 15, Mr. Mccain 14, New York 10, Mr. Inhofe 10, The Navy 9, U.s. 9, Hagan 9, Mr. Coburn 8, Madam 8, Texas 8, Mccain 7, North Carolina 6, Levin 6, Whitehouse 5, Udall 5,
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  CSPAN    U.S. Senate    News/Business.  

    November 29, 2012
    12:00 - 5:00pm EST  

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dwepg themrapidlydeveloping thee of putting them on missile systems, who have missile systems already. so does north korea have a missile system they believe can reach the united states right now. we need to be sure our defense system is sufficient. it's not a -- i wish it weren't so, it's just the way it is. and i think the defense department understands this. i think the administration says it does, and we're doing some good things to be prepared for that. however, we have got to confront this question of an east coast site and we need this report, and i believe we're going to need additional layered defense, and we might as well prepare to do it, and in the scheme of the entire investment in our national defense, it won't be the kind of expenditure that will break the defense budget. it is something we can work into
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our defense budgets. so i thank senator ayotte and kyl for their comments. i will yield the floor. mr. mccain: i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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mr. levin: i would ask unanimous consent that further proceedings under the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. levin: madam president, this is what we are planning on now. we're waiting for senator cornyn to come to the floor. he will be speaking on a modified cornyn amendment. then we also are awaiting senator inhofe to come to the floor. he will be speaking on a hagan amendment. then we would expect after a fairly short amount of debate, perhaps ten minutes, it's not set yet, by each of them, perhaps a minute or two by the sponsors of the amendment to describe, particularly in the
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case of the hagan amendment, we would then go to a roll call vote on both those amendments. that's the plan. it's not yet into a u.c. agreement formally because we want to make sure we're protecting the senators in terms of the length of time they need to describe their opposition to either the hagan amendment in the case of inhofe or their support of the cornyn amendment in the case of senator cornyn. now, if that's -- i thought i would wait and see if there was any further comment on that. senator klobuchar, we hope now, would be recognized for a few minutes to describe a couple of amendments she has filed. she is not going to call them up at this point, but that would be a period for her to describe those two amendments. ms. klobuchar: yes. thank you. madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from minnesota. ms. klobuchar: i want to thank senator levin and senator mccain for their leadership on this issue, including last year
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when this defense authorization act was on the floor. last year we made some improvements. here's the issue. according to the veterans affairs administration, a full one in five female veterans at v.a. facilities across the country say they have had an issue with sexual assault or sexual harassment. in 2010, the department of defense reported more than 3,000 reports in the military. now we know that the vast majority of our soldiers are la law-abiding that would not engage in this kind of behavior, but this is cheerl an issue and we have seen an increase. i'd like to take again the time to recognize senator levin and senator mccain who supported last year the inclusion of the amendment that i introduced to preserve records of military sexual assault in the 2012 national defense authorizing act. until that time, it was really a patchwork of rules for each branch of the military about how long those records would be preserved, madam president. thanks to the support of every single woman senator, we were able to get this changed, and so
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now these records are preserved. there are still some additional changes that can be made. those are the amendments that i have introduced, a records retention amendment, and i am working with the chairman and ranking member on this issue that once again tackles this issue. unfortunately, not all records are being stored for 50 years as was our agreement last year. documents filed in a restrictive reporter setting are stored for just five years, and this amendment changes that. our second amendment number 3103 addresses another area of records retention, and its purpose is to target the issue of repeat offenders. as we all know, sex offenders are often repeat offenders, and what this does is target it and makes clear that only substantiated charges of sexual offenses would be preserved in the permanent personnel file of the perpetrator. the third amendment involves sexual assault reporting. that's amendment 3104, and it
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expands the data the department of defense reports on sexual assault incidents in the military. the fourth amendment, amendment 3105, tackles one of the key precursors to sexual assault, sexual harassment. and the fifth amendment and final amendment involves the disposition of sexual assault cases. it makes a statement about what u.s. policies should be regarding the disposition of sexual assault charges in the military. these -- all of these requests came from women in the military. my office have been working with these women. they signed up to serve. they performed their service well and honorably. if in the course of their service they experience an assault that could have been prevented, an assault that would not have been experienced if they had not volunteered for the service, then we owe them, our country owes them the basic decency of ensuring them a fair trial, fair access to health benefits and the promise of
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justice. that is the goal of our amendments. i appreciate again the leadership of senator levin and senator mccain in the only working with me last year to dramatically alter this policy so these records are now preserved for 50 years but this year to work on improvements to that policy once again. thank you, madam president. i yield the floor. madam president, i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call: the presiding officer: the senator from oklahoma. mr. inhofe: i ask unanimous consent the quorum call in progress be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. inhofe: for a point of inquiry, madam president. it is my understanding that the occupier of the chair has an amendment that is going to be considered at the present time, and my question is are we ready to go into that and are you
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going to be able to do that from up there? the presiding officer: the senator from michigan. mr. levin: if the senator would yield. i thank him for noticing that. senator hagan did have an opportunity last night to go into her amendment, and she was willing to do that at that time. we understand that of course you wanted an opportunity to speak against the hagan amendment, which is the opportunity which is being provided now. then i would think it would be appropriate for someone else to take senator hagan's place at the presiding officer's position so she could speak for just a few minutes, i understand, in support of her amendment after you are completed. but i am just wondering if you could just give us an idea about how long you expect. mr. inhofe: not more than seven or eight minutes. madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from oklahoma. mr. inhofe: madam president, i know that you had -- i was not here when you spoke last night. however, i am familiar with
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the -- with the amendment that is here. let me share with some of the members here, i hope that they don't look at this amendment as just part of the amendment that was defeated yesterday. we talked about biofuels. there are a lot of people in here who are supporting the biofuels. i am supporting biofuels. in fact, we're very active in oklahoma right now in developing various biofuels. we're one of the leaders in the nation. we actually have a lot of these these -- the plants that are located in my state of oklahoma. this is not that issue. it's not whether or not you believe that biofuels is something we're working for in the future. we are. we all know that. this is whether or not we should take our very scarce dollars, defense dollars in this case, the dollars that otherwise would go to the department of navy, and put them into subsidizing the private sector, into building these -- these plants. now, what we're log at now is
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the -- to either retrofit or build biobiofuel refineries. this is kind of interesting because right now -- and i have a list of some -- it looks to me like it's about 100 different biofuel plants, many of which are in my state of oklahoma that are not subsidized by the federal government, and there's no reason to subsidize these by the federal government. this is something that can be done. if you look at the navy and the problems they are having right now, i think that people realize that the -- their operation and maintenance funds are stretched to a maximum. they have readiness problems right now, they have a higher tempo than we have had in the past. i think it's very important for people to understand that if you keep giving away $170 million here and some more here, that's coming out of o. & m. it's coming out of our readiness. right now if you talk to any of them in the higher levels of the navy, they talk about they have
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never been in a situation they have been in before. they have already had readiness problems over the past few years with more than 1/5 of its ships falling short of combat readiness and fewer than half of its deployed combat aircraft being mission ready at any given time. i would urge us to reconsider whether or not we should be in the business of building these -- these plants or retrofitting them, because this is something we haven't done before. now, energy and agriculture are doing it currently. this is a function that -- yesterday i stood on the floor and talked about you were kind of taking over the responsibility of the department of energy. we're trying to make the decisions as to how we're going to do this. should we be developing the progress of the -- of the biofuels which we are doing in the state of oklahoma without any federal government assistance or should we be defending america with these dollars? now, energy, yes, they're going
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to spend money on this. the department of agriculture currently is spending money on it, but we have not been doing it. i notice and i can understand this that the occupier of the chair, the author of this amendment from north carolina, i'm reading now from one of the web sites from the newspaper there saying a private company backed by the u.s. department of agriculture will build 130 million biofuel refineries in sampson county, an estimated 300 jobs. they go ahead and talk about what they may be doing through the department of defense. khemtex was awarded a grant in june to convert more than 4,000 acres across 11 counties to begin producing switch grass and biofuel conversions. the usda -- that's the department of agriculture which is supposed to be doing this stuff -- estimates farmers will see a net revenue increase of 4.5 million in growing and selling grass. i come to two conclusions on
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this. one is they're already doing it now in the stat as i just read, that is in the state of north carolina. they're already paying, subsidizing these plants. that's the job to decide whether or not to subsidize these biotech plants or whether that should be a function of the department of energy. so when we look at these and see that to -- i asked my staff before this, we didn't have at love notice, to tell me if there are any of these plants that are currently being subsidized in any way by the department of -- by the department of defense. and his answer was no, after a cursory look, we do have d.o.e. and d.o.a., department of agriculture and department of energy, that are doing this. i just hope that everyone here will look at this. i would actually join the chair, join the senator, the author of this amendment in encouraging the department of agriculture and department of energy to look carefully at this as well as -- as well at some
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of our plants in my state of oklahoma. on this list i'll submit as part of the record there are about a hundred plants scattered throughout the country including my state of oklahoma. we need to look at those, evaluate those and make the determination is this a function government should perform, 123 if so, wouldn't it be more logical to do it through the department of agriculture, the department of energy and not use our scarce readiness in this case navy dollars that are desperately needed to do this -- to subsidize this. with that i would retain the remainder of my time and i know that the senator who is authoring the amendment may want to make some comments, maybe not. but i would urge my friends, my colleagues to stop and realize this is something brand-new, having the department of defense do the function that has heretofore been -- heretofore been done by the department of agriculture and department of energy and keep it that way. and with that when the
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appropriate times comes i would ask for the yeas and nays on the amendment. i yield the floor, suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the senator from michigan. mr. levin: madam president, i ask unanimous consent that the next amendment in order to be called up is the corner amendment -- cornyn amendment 3158, and it be in order for senator hagan or a designee to call up her amendment 3095, there be up to 20 minutes -- 10 minutes of debate, equally divided between the chairman and ranking member or their designees prior to votes in relation to the amendments in the order offered. finally, there be no amendments in order to either amendment prior to the votes. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. levin: voting on the amendment of senator cornyn first, the amendment of senator
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hagan second, and i yield the floor. mr. mccain: that would take approximately 30 minutes? before the vote. mr. levin: i think senator cornyn only needs about five minutes. we've cleared that amendment, support for it. senator hagan only needs i believe five minutes. that means that in about 10 minutes. mr. mccain: 10 minutes and we'd be ready to vote. mr. levin: unless there are others who wish to speak. the presiding officer: the senator from texas. mr. cornyn: madam president, i thank the distinguished chair of the armed services committee and ranking member for their work with us on this important amendment. the veterans administration defines a backlog claim as one that's been pending more than 125 days. scandalously, there are 600,000
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plus backlog claims in the veterans administration system and about two-thirds of all pending claims are backlogged. now, there's been a lot of attention, particularly in my state and across the country by veterans to this really unacceptable situation. in my state we have currently backlogged at the veterans regional office in texas, we have a state agency called the texas veterans commission that's working with both the waco office and other field offices in houston and elsewhere to clear these backlogs. the texas veterans commission is doing outstanding working on a voluntary basis to make sure that veterans file fully developed claims which shortens the processing time dramatically. the goal of the texas veterans commission is to reduce the backlog of v.a. claims in texas by 17,000 in one year.
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you can see from the size of the problem this is an important first step but it is only that, a first step. the purpose of my amendment would be to provide this useful model across the country to require a plan from the veterans' administration to deal with this backlog. i feel confident that members will have no trouble voting for this amendment because i'm sure they've heard what i have heard from my constituents about how outraged and downset they are at the current backlog of claims. in order to capitalize on the model this would require the veterans administration to report to congress with a plan to address the claims backlog through partnerships between the veterans administration and other entities, including state veterans' affairs offices and offices similar to the texas
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veterans commission in operation in my state. the purpose, of course, is to eliminate the current backlog of claims and ensure new claims are fully developed when they are submitted with the purpose of keeping our commitments to our environments and keep our commitments to them, once they return home if they suffer from the wounds of war, both seen and unseen. so, madam president, i ask -- would ask the support of my colleagues for this important amendment and i would ask for the yeas and nays. madam president, i would call up -- ask unanimous consent to set aside all pending amendments and call up cornyn amendment 3158. the presiding officer: without objection. the clerk will report. the clerk: the senator from texas, mr. cornyn, proposes an amendment numbered 3158. mr. cornyn: and i would ask unanimous consent to dispense with further reading of the amendment. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. cornyn: and now, madam president, i would ask for the yeas and nays.
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the presiding officer: is there a sufficient second? there appears to be. the yeas and nays are ordered. mr. cornyn: thank you, madam president. i yield the floor. a senator: i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from north carolina. a senator: mr. president, i call up amendment number -- officer senator, we are in a quorum call. a senator: mr. president, i ask that the quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. a senator: mr. president, i call up amendment number 30956789. the presiding officer3095. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: the senator from north carolina, mr. hagan, for herself and others, proposes amendment numbered 3095. strike section 2023. mr. hagan: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent to adds senators shaheen, collins, schumer, stabenow, whitehouse, coons, udall of new mexico and
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senator tester as cosponsors. the presiding officer: without objection. mrs. hagan: mr. president, i spoke about this bill last night at length and i want to give a brief summary today of this amendment. this bipartisan amendment would remove provisions from the underlying bill that prohibits the department of defense from participating in a program with the departments of agriculture and the department of energy and private industry to develop advanced biofuels refineries. it is a 1-1 match. as the largest single consumer of fuel in the world, the d.o.d. uses approximately 120 million barrels of oil each year, spending over $17 billion in fiscal year 2011. this dependency on a single source of energy leaves our military readiness at risk. and when the price of oil goes up $1, it costs the navy an additional $30 million. we are looking at an investment here of $170 million by the
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department of the navy. just last year alone, this additional fuel cost forced the navy to pay an additional $500 million more because the price of fuel was $1 higher. our senior military leaders recognize the importance of diversifying the fuel supply with advanced biofuels. the navy secretary -- secretary mabis, the chief of naval operations, admiral jonathan grienert, and the marine corps commandant, general amos, wrote to the senate armed services committee about this. and, mr. president, i ask consent to add their letter to the record at the conclusion of my remarks. the presiding officer: without objection. mrs. hagan: they're talking about the demand for fuel in theatre, means that we depend on vulnerable supply lines, the protection of which puts lives at risk. our potential adversaries, both on land and at sea, understand this critical vulnerability and seek to exploit it. the navy and marine corps have
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been aggressively evaluating how both energy efficiency and alternative sources of energy can provide tactical benefits to our expeditionary forces. and if you look back in history, the navy's leadership on energy innovation is nothing new. it was the navy that shifted from sailing ships to steam-powered ships in the middle of the 19th century; steam to oil in the 20th; and pioneered nuclear power in the middle of the 20th century. in the 1950's, the defense production act, which is the same entity that the department of navy, department of energy, and department of agriculture are working under, played a critical role in the development of nuclear-powered submarines and the commercial nuclear power industry. yesterday, the senate approved senator udall's amendment having to do with the -- the cost of fuel and -- and being able to invest in biofuels with strong bipartisan support, this
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amendment passed. however, our work is not done in this area. it's critically important that we approve this amendment so that the navy can continue working with the department of agriculture and the department of energy to spur the development of advanced biofuels refineries capable of producing cost-competitive dropping biofuels for our military. i urge my colleagues to support this amendment, and i yield the floor. mr. inhofe: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from oklahoma. mr. inhofe: mr. president, reference was made to the udall amendment yesterday. i want to make sure our colleagues know that this is not the udall amendment. this is something totally different. this would mean that for the first time, we would be spending our d.o.d. dollars, our very scarce dollars -- in this case, the department of the navy -- to build refineries or to retrofit refineries. that hasn't been done before. as i said to the -- to the senator from north carolina when she was presiding, this is a
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function that has always been performed by the department of energy and the department of agriculture. and in my state of oklahoma, we have several of these refineries and potential refineries in retrofits that are needed. however, we're going through the proper channels, which are the department of agriculture and the department of energy. so if you vote for this amendment, it will be the first time we're using our readiness dollars to do something that the d.o.a. and the d.o.e. are supposed to be doing. that's what is -- distinguishes the difference between the two. i yield the floor. the presiding officer: all time has expired. under the previous order, the question occurs on amendment number 3158, offered by the senator from texas, mr. cornyn. the yeas and nays were previously ordered. the clerk will call the roll.
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[inaudible] mr. levin: between the first and second votes here now, we will have an announcement as to the next part of this road map, and i would also hope that all senators who wish amendments to be considered would come between and during these votes to senator mccain and myself and our staffs to discuss other amendments which are out there which there's interest in pursuing. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. vote:
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vote:
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the presiding officer: are there any senators in the chamber wishing to vote or to change their vote? if not, on this vote the ayes are 95, the nays are zero, the amendment is agreed to. could we have order in the senate. the senator from michigan.
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mr. levin: mr. president, i would move to reconsider that vote. the presiding officer: it has already been done. mr. levin: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator is correct. the senate will come to order. please take your conversations from the well. the senator from michigan. mr. levin: mr. president, first, for the members of the armed services committee, immediately after you vote on this second vote, please, we're trying to clear noms in the hallway. stay around for a couple of minutes, members of the armed services committee. secondly -- and i know that the leader was going to make this statement but he had to leave for a minute so i'll make it for him. the presiding officer: the senator from michigan. mr. levin: we are planning on staying late tonight. everyone can expect to be here tomorrow. we're going to have votes tomorrow unless we somehow or other finish this bill tonight. the leader would have said that
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if he were here so i'm saying it for him. next, after this vote, i would ask unanimous consent that senator baucus be recognized for ten minutes. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. levin: to speak on the amendments that we have either passed or are going to pass. then we will line up some additional amendments. there are two we can line up now. i thought it was going to be four but it can only be two at the moment that we would take up immediately after senator baucus. mr. levin: i would ask unanimous consent, mr. president, that following senator baucus' remarks that we then turn to
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senator merkley who will call up amendment 3096 on afghanistan, and following him, senator portman, who would call up number 2995, and i don't have the subject of that amendment. i ask unanimous consent. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. levin: we'll tried try to get time agreements on those two amendments. we're continuing to work through the amendments, we'll have more cleared amendments, we're going to definitely get 0 the detention issue today, try to get to all the issues people want to raise today so we can finish by the end of the day tomorrow. but we've assured everyone who is interested in the detention issue we will be getting to that later this afternoon. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the question occurs on amendment number 3095 offered by the senator from north carolina. is there a sufficient second? there appears to be. the clerk will call the roll.
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vote:
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had eeeests test eest test teste
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test test test itest s
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the presiding officer: the senator from michigan.
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mr. levin: i ask unanimous consent that further proceedings under the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. levin: mr. president, i'd now like to call up a list of nine amendments which have been cleared by myself and the ranking member, senator mccain, the webb amendment, number 2948, sessions aim number 2962, inhofe amendment number 2971, casey amendment number 28986, murray amendment number 2989, coburn ohm, man chon amendment number 3166, boxer amendment number 2981. i believe they've been cleared on the republican side. mr. mccain: i have no objection. mr. levin: mr. president, i now ask consent that the senate consider these amendments
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enblock the amendments be agreed to and the motion to reconsider be laid on the table. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. mr. levin: mr. president, it's -- mr. mccain: mr. president, i thank my colleague and, by the way, did we reconsider the -- move to reconsider -- will he leaf lay on the table. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mccain: mr. president, just briefly, i was just going over a list of amendments that are still -- that have been filed, and i would urge my colleagues who want those amendments considered, come over and state their intention and we will move forward with the amendments. but i keep hearing from my staff, well, this senator is not
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ready yet, that senator is not ready yet. i hope that they can come over, we can get these amendments in order and we will dispose of them as soon as possible, since we are looking at a rather late evening this evening and even tomorrow. so we need to move these amendments, and i hope my colleagues will cooperate by coming over and be prepared to offer those amendments. mr. levin: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from michigan. mr. levin: mr. president, the senator from west virginia wishes now to speak on the the merkley amendment of and then it is our intention to move to a vote on the merkley amendment and i will put my statement in support of the merkley amendment in the record. mr. manchin: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from west virginia. mr. manchin: thank you. i do rise in support of my colleague, senator merkley from
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oregon's amendment on afghanistan. i know that we all have good ideas and input here and our own personal opinions. but it is time to bring our troops home, mr. president, from afghanistan. they've been there since october 7, 2001. they have defeated al qaeda, killed osama bin laden, and it's time to bring them home. 66,000 american combat troops still remain in afghanistan. 66,000. president obama plans to reduce that number by a steady pace until they're moved completely out by end of 2014. i would prefer a faster pace. i'm sure as many of my colleagues woovment i would prefer a faster pace. but as it didn't jeopardize the safety of our troops, because i think that's the most important thing that we do is protect our troops that are still there. after all, the war has already surpassed the vietnam war as the longest in american history. and it has already cost us dearly. nearly 2,000 american troops have died for the cause. many thousands more have been maimed and more than $500
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billion has been spent just in afghanistan. even so, i support the bipartisan amendment sponsored by senator merkley of oregon. it backs the president's current plan to end combat operations in afghanistan by the end of 2014. but i support the amendment because it also calls for a quicker transition of security, operations from u.s. forces to afghanistan security forces. and instead of the end of 2014, the amendment urges the transition to take place in the sum of 2013, this coming year. that hopefully would bring a quicker end to the u.s. involvement in combat in afghanistan. this amendment merely expresses the sense of the senate. it is not binding on president obama. and it will not affect any negotiations between washington and kabul on whether a residual force of u.s. military advisors in afghanistan would be there after 2014. mr. president, u.s. forces went to afghanistan in pursuit of those who planned and ordered
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the september 11 terrorist attack on the united states of america that killed over 3,000 of our citizens. with valor and courage they drove from power the taliban, which had given bin laden a base from which he could launch his horrific attacks on innocent american civilians. they captured or killed or brought to justice the leaders of al qaeda and eventually they tracked down bin laden himself and made sure that he would never, ever, ever harm another american. after more than ten years, more than 1,900 american lives and more than $500 billion, it is time to bring our warriors home to a hero's welcome. time to focus our resources on rebuilding america, not on rebuilding afghanistan. i've said many times on this floor, if you help us build a new road or bridge in west virginia, help us build a school for our children, we won't blow it up or bourn it down. it is time to come home to rebuild america for this great country and to bring our heroes back with a heroes welcome.
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thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor. mr. reid: i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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mr. levin: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from michigan. mr. levin: mr. president, i -- the presiding officer: we're in a quorum call. mr. levin: i would ask that further proceedings your honor the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. levin: as we are now going to provided to a vote on the merkley amendment. my entire at the sam statement n the record. the amendment expresses the support of this body including the handover ever afghan security forces of primary responsibility for security throughout afghanistan by mid-2013. the completion of the security transition process by the end of
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2014 and, of course, that has to do with the completion of the transition. that is not necessarily by any means the withdrawal of all troops. but it's the intent that all combat forces be withdrawn by the end of 2014. i emphasize it is a since of the senate resolution i emphasize it is a sense of the senate resolution. i will put the balance of my statement in the record. mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from michigan. mr. levin: now, after the disposition of the merkley amendment, we then intend to move to the whitehouse amendme amendment. the whitehouse amendment has been cleared by the chairman and rank member of the committee of jurisdiction. however, there is a desire to garrett and have a roll call on -- t to debate and have a roll call on that. we are prepared immediately
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after this debate to call up and debate the amendment and any opponent or opponents to be prepared to debate it at this time. so it is our intent and i would ask unanimous consent that immediately following the vote on the pending amendment, merkley amendment, that we then move to the whitehouse and following that the disposition of the whitehouse amendment, we then move to a coburn amendment number 3109, which will require debate and hopefully we can work out a time agreement with senator coburn during this vote, and finally we are urging people who -- senators who have amendments that we've not yet addressed that they intend to press or hope to press to meet with us during this vote so we can continue to make progress on this bill. we will be in tomorrow unless by some wonderful events that we're able to finish this bill tonight.
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the presiding officer: the senator from arizona. mr. mccain: i agree with the unanimous consent agreement and i have to --. the presiding officer: the senator from michigan. mr. levin: i thank my friend from arizona. we're going to have to withdraw that unanimous consent request on 109 at this time. we're going to try to see what the problem is. there's objection to my request on this side. we're going to try to work out those objections during this roll call. mr. mccain: i have to object on this side, then. senator coburn wants the same privilege that every senator has and that's to bring up his amendment and if someone objects to that, i hope that person or individual, the senator would come down and object to --
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object in person because this is holding up the progress of the bill. so if there's a whitehouse amendment that is agreed to, then there certainly should be allowed a coburn amendment as well. so we have -- we have to object to the unanimous consent agreement. hopefully during the vote we can work out some agreement. i mean on the merkley amendment. mr. levin: we understand mr. merkley is on his way and wishes to speak for a minute on his own amendment. we got word that senator merkley is on his way. so we will ask -- note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll.
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quorum call:
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mr. merkley: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from oregon. mr. merkley: i rise to speak in support of amendment --. the presiding officer: quorum call. mr. merkley: i ask the quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. merkley: i rise to speak in favor of amendment 3096 to express the sense of congress on the accelerated transition from united states combit combat and security operations to the government of afghanistan. our president has laid out a course of action that involves putting afghanistan's troops in charge of the operation in afghanistan. this amendment fully supports the schedule that the president has laid out. and furthermore, it calls upon the president to explore every opportunity to see if that schedule can be accelerated that we can with security for our troops and appropriateness for
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our mission withdraw at a faster pace. mr. president, the two main objectives we went to afghanistan for were to take out the al qaeda training camps and to proceed -- pursue those responsible for 9/11. we have effectively pursued those missions, al qaeda is now much stronger around the rest of the world and counterterrorism strategy that is promote in the rest of the world is appropriate in afghanistan and it should be pursued but the mission that we have newly adopted of nation building in afghanistan has gone terribly off track and put our troops at great risk. we need to endorse the president's strategy and end this war, the longest war the united states has ever experienced. i ask for my colleagues' support and thank you. the presiding officer: is there further debate on the amendment? if not, the question is on the amendment. all those in favor say aye.
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is there a sufficient second? there appears to be. there is. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
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vote:
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vote:
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the presiding officer: is there anyone who has not yet voted or wishes to change his or her vote? if not, on this vote, the ayes vote: vote: the presiding officer: are there any senators who have not yet voted or to wish to change his or her vote? if not, on this vote, the ayes are 62, the nays are 33, and the amendment carries. mr. levin: mr. president, i move to reconsider. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. levin: mr. president, what we would like to do --
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the presiding officer: the senator from michigan. mr. levin: what we would like to do now is move to senator blumenthal's amendment which has been cleared and i believe can be voice voted. i think that's the current situation. then as soon as that's done, i hope that we will have an announcement as to where we go next. with the cooperation of one senator who we do not see on the floor, we may be able to go to senator whitehouse's amendment, but i can't quite announce that yet because we have to find that senator, make sure that that is not objected to by him. so i would hope that the chair would now recognize senator blumenthal. mr. blumenthal: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from connecticut. mr. blumenthal: mr. president, i want to thank my distinguished colleague, the chairman of the armed services committee, as well as the ranking member, senator mccain, for their leadership on this issue and ask unanimous consent that my amendment 3124 be made pending as modified with the changes that are at the desk. the presiding officer: is there
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objection? without objection, the clerk will report. the clerk: mr. blumenthal proposes amendment numbered 3124 as modified. mr. blumenthal: thank you, mr. president. very simply, this amendment involves commonsense reforms that will ensure the performance of contracts overseas paid for by our taxpayers involving money in this very defense budget, consistent with the values that we hold dear as americans. the department of defense has a special responsibility to lead in preventing human trafficking overseas as this amendment would do, and it is not only a matter of humane and moral values, it is a matter of getting value for the dollars that we spend and protecting our national security. the united states has and ought
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to have a zero tolerance policy against government employees and contractor personnel engaging in any form of human trafficking. these values are transcendent of party lines, of any other interests. i'm very proud to offer this amendment, in fact, with strong support across the aisle led by my colleague, senator portman, who has joined me in forming a human trafficking caucus to lead the way on these issues, and this amendment is a result of efforts that we have led and very simply represents the most comprehensive legislative effort ever undertaken in the united states congress to stamp out human trafficking in overseas contracting and i am happy to yield to my colleague from ohio, senator portman. mr. portman: thank you, mr. president. i'm pleased to join my colleague from connecticut in offering this amendment which is modeled on this legislation that he
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talked about. it is bipartisan that we introduced in march along with a number of senators on both sides of the aisle. we also recently joined together to form a senate caucus to end trafficking and we have received issues on both sides of the aisle on that. the aim of this amendment is really pretty simple. it's to be sure that our contingency contracting dollars are spent in a manner that is consistent with our deeply held values as a country. this is particularly important in the context of wartime contracting and reconstruction works. this comes from the work that state department and department of defense is i.g.'s have done. we lack the kind of monitoring to have the visibility we need in our labor practices by our subcontractors who rely on a lot of third-party nationals to do overseas work. it also comes from the war-time contracting commission which last year reported what it described as evidence of the recurrent problem of trafficking in persons by labor brokers or subcontractors of contingency
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contractors, and the report concluded that existing prohibitions on such trafficking have failed to suppress it. one of the commission members, a former reagan and bush administration defense official, testified before our committee, saying that those findings were in his assessment just the tip of the iceberg. so i think this legislation is appropriate. it directly affects this issue that has been raised now by the i.g.'s and by the war-time contracting commission. this is a commonsense approach to it, broadly defined. we believe that this will help to deal with the human trafficking issue that has been identified. it deals with recruiting workers to leave their home countries based on fraudulent promises. the confiscating of passports to limit the ability of workers to return home, charging workers so-called recruitment fees that consume more than a month's salary to name some of the abuses that have been identified. i think it should be clear that the promg majority of these contractors and subcontractors are law-abiding, but we need to be sure that these abusive labor
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practices are dealt with and this legislation would do so. i thank my colleague for raising it today. i'm proud to join him in cosponsoring legislation, and i yield the floor, mr. president. blume thank you, mr. president. mr. president, i yield the floor and suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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mr. leahy: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from vermont. mr. leahy: madam president, i ask unanimous consent that the call of the quorum be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. leahy: madam president and ththe distinguished presiding
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officer would know what i'm saying by this. it was a pleasure and an honor for this senator to have served side by side with the late senator from new hampshire, warren rudman. as we in new england knew and of course people in new hampshire and vermont especially knew, he was a skilled and accomplished legislator. he was a credit to this body. he was a cat cat catalyst for . he always kept his word and he was a good and close friend. we traveled together. we worked together. we never let our different political parties get in the way of doing things that helped our part of the country or helped the country at large. i think he was shaped by his experience as well as business his yankee origins. an army infantry commander, he saw much action in the korean
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conflict. he had been a widely respected attorney general from new hampshire before coming to the senate. senator rudman embodied the characteristickistics that many of us call the old school of senate values. we served together on the appropriations committee. we often worked together on national issues as well as on behalf of our two adjoining states. as i said earlier, i quickly learned that when warren rudman gave his word, you could count on it. he served during a time when senators would readily put aside their party afill reagan affilik together. he was able to help chart the way forward to accommodate different viewpoints and interests. regrettably, that kind of bipartisanship at this point in the senate's history becomes too rare. and i think we have to work to recapture it. the can-do yankee spirit, he
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took on difficult challenges and stuck to them. from national security and foreign affairs to budget policy, he dug into pressing and often prickly issues and made a difference. well after his retirement from this body, a voluntary retirement, he continued to serve the country he loved so well. before the attacks on our nation on september 11, 2001, he and former senator garry hart headed a national advisory panel investigating the threat of international terrorism. the sobering conclusions they reached about our susceptability to terrorist attacks were prescient but largely forgotten until 9/11. so when i was asked to serve on the advisory board at the warren b. cente warren center in new hampshire, of course i was pleased to accept. and his legacy will be reflected well at the rudman center, just as his legacy of service and
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accomplishment will continue to be reflected, appreciated in this body. madam president, i say this -- it seems perfectly a ppropriate that the distinguished senior senator from new hampshire is presiding. but the senate and the nation for warren rudman's service. madam president, i ask unanimous consent that rosscummings from senator manchin's office be granted floor privileges for the national defense authorization act for fiscal year 2013. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. leahy: and, madam president, i ask that scott heller from senator udall's office, be grantinged floor privileges for the duration of s. 3254. the presiding officer: wonings.
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-- without objection. mr. leahy: madam president, i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from michigan. mr. levin: i think we are now willing to proceed to the disposition of the blumenthal amendment. i don't know of anyone who wishes to speak further on that amendment. the presiding officer: is there further debate? if not, the question is on the amendment. all those in favor say aye. all those opposed, say no. the ayes appear to have t the ayes do have it. the amendment is agreed to. mr. levin: move to reconsider. mr. mccain: move to line the table. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. levin: madam president, while we're trying to work out the next -- can we ...
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mr. inhofe: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from oklahoma. mr. inhofe: madam president, i ask unanimous consent to set the pending amendment aside for the consideration of amendment number 2972. the presiding officer: is there objection? the senator from michigan. mr. levin: madam president, i just wonder if we could just ask unanimous consent at this point to take up the inhofe amendment. we know of no objection to it. and rather than setting any amendment aside, just simply send it to the desk. is the amendment at the desk? or just call up the amendment, if you would. mr. inhofe: i ask to call up amendment number 2972. the presiding officer: without objection, the clerk will report. the clerk: th the senator from oklahoma -- mr. inhofe: i ask unanimous consent that further proceedings
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under the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. who have this is an amendment that will be accepted by both sides. it is a request by all the associations, veterans and all the others. something i was not familiar with until recently. in july of 18622308ing the seven-day battles of union general daniel butterfield and the bugler oliver wilcox norton created taps at the berkeley plantation in virginia. now, this is something we're all familiar -- those of us who served in the military. we know what taps s it is a big deal to a lot of people. but it's never had an official designation. now, we have an amendment now that would be a sense of the senate that would designate the bugle call commonly known as taps to be designated aes a national song of military remembrance. and the reason i think it's something to do it is that it raises the song known as "taps" to a national level of significance, specifically for the military veterans as a
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tribute when played during military funerals and ceremonies. this is a request of the organizations of various veterans organizations. i would ask that it be adopted. the presiding officer: without objection. the senator from michigan. mr. levin: we know of of no objection to the amendment. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection, the amendment is agreed to. mr. levin: move it reconsider. mr. mccain: move to lay on the table. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. levin: madam president, i would now ask unanimous consent that senator udall of colorado be recognized for five minutes as though in morning business to speak -- to speak as though in morning business. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. udall: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from colorado. mr. udall: madam president, i want to thank the chairman and
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the ranking member of the armed services committee for recognizing me. i am a proud member of that committee, as is the presiding officer. i am also a proud member of the intelligence committee. from those vantage points i'm well aware of the threats that face our country. our military and intelligence communities are to be prepared to counter threats from a wide range of enemies and bad actors. as we all know, our national security community is decisively engaged against those who would do us harm. when we capture those who are plotting against us, we are swiftly bringing them to justice by trying and convicting those terrorists in civilian courts, and when appropriate in military commissions. this is a flexible strategy that has empowered our counterterrorism community to help keep american americans sae 9/11. those brave men and women who spend every wake being hour defending this country has been successfully using our laws to pursue terrorists around the
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globe. but last year congress changed some of those laws against the wishes of our military and intelligence communities. those detainee provisions last year suggest that our military should shift significant resources away from their mission and to instead act as both a domestic law enforcement agency and jailer with respect to terror suspects. they also call into question the principles we call dear because they could be interpreted as allowing terrorists to detain them on soil without trial. i join in warning my colleagues about the dangerous change that such policies would make awrndled awful ors to 23409 not pass them. we co have to get our detainee d counterterrorism policies right.
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the policies that were enacted last year complicate our capacity to prosecute the war on the one hand terror and in the process erode our nation's constitutional principles. both of which concern all of us. i have been working with the administration to ensure that those detention policies are not harmfullharmful interpreted. but the law itself remains a problem. several of my colleagues including the senator from kentucky and senator feinstein have suggested changes to the law that will help repair the flawed policies enacted last year. i've also crafted my own legislation working with the ranking member on the house armed services committee, congressman adam smith from washington, to repair some of the harm that i believe was done in last year's ndaa. i've filed that bill to this year's ndaa as amendment 3115, along with the chairman of the senate judiciary committee, senator leahy. inow, senators feinstein and pal
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have a similar but slightly different approach to resolving the problems created by the detainee provisions passed last year. their there are efforts under way to ensure that whatever passage we take is supported by the greatest number of members possible and i look forward to being a part of those important discussions. i know that we addressed this issue in part last year, but in speaking with other members, i know there's a renewed interest in getting our detention policies right. both from the point of view of counterterrorism effectiveness and constitutional protection. i believe both security and freedom are critically important, and i don't think we have to choose one over the other. i want to thank my colleagues for remaining diligent in addressing the detention policies that remain a concern because americans must remain engaged on this issue. madam president, i yield the
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floor, and i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call:
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mr. levin: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from michigan. mr. levin: i ask unanimous consent further proceedings under the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. levin: i ask unanimous consent senator thune be allotted -- five minutes? ten minutes? seven minutes to speak as though in morning business or speak on an amendment. the presiding officer: without objection.
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mr. thune: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from south dakota. mr. thune: madam president, i would like to speak to an amendment i filed at the desk and i'm working with the managers of the bill to try and address concerns they might have in order to get it accepted but i wanted to speak to it if i might a little bit this afternoon and essentially what the amendment is, it's really just a sense of congress regarding the federal government's use of spectrum. and in particular, spectrum use of the department of defense. spectrum is a very important
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resource to the department of defense and it's also a very important resource to the private sector. unfortunately, specific spectrum is becoming a scarcer and scarcer resource and is increasingly necessary for there to be better and more efficient management of this scarce resource. demand for spectrum is sharply rising diewg to the advanced growing network of devices that rae lie on spectrum. the rise of mobile devices like smart phones and tablets, the yoinch phone and yoinch pad, the reason for this sharp rise in demand. according to cisco, last year's mobile data traffic was eight times the size of the entire global internet in 2000. the cisco study predicts that global mobile data traffic will increase 18-fold between 2011 and 2016 at a compound annual growth rate of 78%, reaching
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10.8 exo bytes. it has contributed significantly to the economy. the mobile industry supports 3.8 million jobs contributing $195.5 billion to the u.s. gross domestic product and driving $33 billion in productivity improvements in 2011. with all that's gone wrong with our economy over the past several years, it is important that we as policymakers nurture the growth of the economy especially where growth is already happening. and, in fact, is exploding. we need to enact smart pro-growth policies as relates to spectrum. i know that the spectrum issue isn't easy to understand or to manage, but it is crucial that we seek to better manage this scarce resource and about it is possible allocate more of the scarce resource to the private sector where it can create jobs and grow the economy. that is the reasoning and purpose behind my amendment. the federal government controls
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a vast amount of the available spectrum for its own use. it is probably not all as efficiently managed as it could be. undoubtedly a substantial amount could be made available to create jobs and grow the economy. one of the low-hanging fruits we can deal with plm almost immediately is the band known as the 1755 to 1780 megahertz band. this spectrum is particularly well suited to reallocation to commercial use because it is identified for commercial mobile services and is used for that purpose throughout most of the world. this 755-780 band is also immediately adjacent to wireless spectrum and would fit seamlessly into the current portfolio allowing more equipment development and deployment. there's no reason for further delay. in the reallocation of the 1755-1780 band for commercial use. this band was identified for commercial broadband use
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internationally at the 2000 world radio communications conference over ten years ago. despite the international designation of the bapped for advanced wireless use it is still allocated domestically for government use heavily by the d.o.d. the national telecommunications and financial agency, issued studies and reports in 2001, 2002, and 2010 that addressed use of the band for commercial use. but took no action. the spectrum was also identified in the national broadband plan as potentially available for reallocation. in twowfl, the ntia released its report. unfortunately, the report contains no firm deadline for action and no clear path to making the band available for commercial use. it contemplates a potential ten-year time frame and shared
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use of spectrum but defers any formal recommendation regarding reallocation until the completion of still further study. had ntia acted when it was first allocated internationally, the band might already be available for commercial services. without a firm deadline, d.o.d. is unlikely to agree to reallocation and the prospects for reallocating the 1755-1780 band for commercial use remains slim. that is why my amendment urges the president to direct users on that 1755-1780 band to prefair not later than may 31 of 2013 a reallocation plan that includes the costs of relocating from this band and urges the federal communication commission to are-allocate this band to commercial use. i hasten to add the costs of relocating the band should be verifiable and transparent. the report for the underlying
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bill requires the government accountability office to determine if the cost of vacating or sharing the 1755- 1755-18 -- 1780 band is sufficiently captured in estimates. i look forward to the g.a.o.'s record on this issue. there are those who may voice concerns about how this may impact our national security. i take a back seat to no one in being pro-military. i sat on the armed services committee for six years. i have an air force base in my state i care deeply about. it is important to understand that existing law provides ample protection to d.o.d. for the relocation to replacement spectrum. there are those concerned about the cost to d.o.t. to relocate, the law requires d.o.t. relocation costs to be covered by the spectrum relocation fund which is funded through the proceeds of the auction of the band to commercial licensees. if the auction does not raise 110% of the relocation costs, the auction would be canceled.
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assuring that incumbent users are made whole. moreover, as part of the middle-class tax relief act of 2012, congress expanded the scope of funding from the relocation fund to include the costs of planning for relocation. i am confident that the pentagon and the larger federal government can more efficiently manage its spectrum holdings and make available additional spectrum to create jobs. i hope we can work this out and have it included as part of the defense authorization bill. i certainly believe it's an amendment that's important with regard to the issue that i mentioned and that is the reallocation, relocation of spectrum in this country to allow for multiple uses, obviously important private and commercial uses out there and enormous demand, that demand is is adding significantly to our economy and creating jobs for literally thousands and millions of americans. madam president, with that i yield the floor.
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the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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the presiding officer: the senator from michigan. mr. levin: i ask further proceedings on the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without
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objection. mr. levin: i ask unanimous consent we proceed to the gillibrand amendment and that the time be 20 minutes debate on the amendment and that it be equally divided between senator gillibrand and senator coburn. the presiding officer: without objection. the senator from new york. mrs. gillibrand: i rise to call up amendment 3254 as modified. 3058 as modified. the presiding officer: without objection, the clerk will report. the clerk: the senator from new york, mrs. gillibrand, for herself and others proposes abd an amendment numbered 3058 as modified. mrs. gillibrand: i ask unanimous consent to suspend further reading. the presiding officer: without objection. mrs. gillibrand: madam president, i rise today on behalf of the 30,000 military families who have loved ones with disabilities, including those on the autism spectrum.
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sadly, thousands of these americans suffering from autism and other developmental disabilities are not receiving the treatment that the best practices has determined that they need. for example, military families with children on the autistic spectrum are receiving fewer services than their civilian governmental counterparts across the country, many of whom have been rightfully aided by laws passed in over 60% of our states representing over 75% of the american population. autism places such tremendous strain on our families. health strains, financial, emotional strains. they take such tolls. i want share with you briefly just a couple of the stories we've heard from military families that are struggling, that have done everything we've asked of them as a nation but now can't even provide for their children p. one veteran who was severely wounded in iraq while
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heroically serving his country, his injuries were such that he was forced to retire. because he's retired, his autistic son shane was no longer able to receive the applied behavioral therapies that were recommended. the wait list for the medicaid waiver services where he lives was nine years, so shane's family had to sell their home to pay the roughly $5,000 per month of out-of-pocket for the a.b.a. treatment he so desperately needs. now, the money is running out for their family, and they don't know what to do, but they want to do what's best for their son. without this relief, we risk allowing brave military families just like this one to fall through the cracks. another story, a marine on active duty serving in iraq and afghanistan three times has maxed out all his a.b.a. therapies to treat his
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11-year-old autistic son joshua. joshua is nonverbal and his safety is a key concern. joshua is prescribed 35 hours of a.b.a. therapy per week. because of the severity of the symptoms, the family is faced with the impossible decision of forgoing the recommended care that the doctors prescribe for their son or paying these bills out of pocket for as long as they're actually able. i don't believe this should ever happen to our military families. i don't believe it should happen to any child and that's why i'm introducing my amendment requiring tricare to cover the recommended a.b.a. therapies that a doctor prescribes. it would be a manner consistent with the best practices across this country and in the rest of the federal government. our children need this kind of support, shane and joshua need this kind of support, and we should be standing by our men and women who serve in the military because they stand by us.
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every parent who has a child with autism or another disability faces challenges to ensure that their child has access to the treatments that they require. for these military families, the challenges are even greater, and often compounded by the frequent deployments overseas, the frequent moves to different bases across state lines and sometimes significant gaps in their coverage. today, tricare coverage of a.b.a. is severely limited, it's capped at $36,000 a year per active duty member which falls far below what is medically recommended for so many of these children. this care is limited to active duty service members only and guard and reserve members receive intermittent care and children of retirees can't get coverage at all. as a consequence, military service members often must turn to the state medicaid programs to provide these services to their kids, but the problem is these services are often unavailable because of long wait lists.
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years. in maryland, for example, the wait list is seven years. essentially eliminating a.b.a. coverage during the early years the child needs it most. the wait list had in virginia is 10 years long. even more remarkable than tricare not covering these treatments is that the office of personnel and management has determined that such treatments may be covered as medical therapies for federal civilian employees. a recent court decision which the d.o.d. is reviewing and may appeal determined that tricare must cover these treatments but this decision is being applied under the most narrow definition in the interim, limiting the potential pool of providers. this amendment requires tricare provide coverage and deliver services in a manner that is consistent with the best practices thereby improving access to care for our military families, and aligning the tricare policy with coverage that's basically available to anybody else in a civilian sector.
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i believe we have a duty to stand by our military families. we have to address this difficult medical issue. we ask so much of our men and women that serve in the military. we must support their families. this amendment simply fulfills that promise. i yield the floor to my colleague. mr. coburn: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from oklahoma. mr. coburn: first of all, i want to state from the outset, i agree with the assessment of the senator from new york in terms of the treatment that should be offered. i have no problems with that. i think she's right. there's a lot of other things in tricare that aren't right. and what the senator from new york is doing is admirable, but there's a portion of it's that not. with the modification to her amendment, she has now raised the total cost of this amendment over the next ten years to $1.9 billion.
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and it is true that she has managed to insert with some excess funds that will be spent before the end of the year, that won't be there by the time the money for this is used, to pay for it. so she does meet that standard. but she doesn't meet the standard for the next ten years. and so we're in the midst of this large discussion about how we're going to get out of the fiscal mess. and i take her at her word she really does want to reform tricare and fix it. but you realize tricare hasn't had a premium increase since 1995? and all it would take to pay for this is a $2-per-month increase in premiums for those on trica tricare -- and it's just tricare prime, it's not tricare standard and it's not tricare for life -- $2. $550 a year, covers your whole
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family with no deductibles and no co-pays, right now. hasn't been increased since 1995. so one of the things we ought to do is we ought to work to bring tricare standards up to make sure they meet the needs of everybody. i don't disagree with that. but the other thing we ought to do is we ought to pay for it. now, where's the money going to come from to pay for this, this very well-intentioned and proper thing? the way it's written now by the senator from new york, this will come out of operations and maintenance fund. so the very father of an autistic child will have less flight time, less drill time, less shooting time, less preparation time to go out and be a war fighter. and as we think about the 10% across-the-board cut that's coming or the $500 billion that's proposed to come out of the defense department over the next -- none of it's going to come out of tricare. so what we ought to do is we ought to fix these things but we
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ought to fix them without digging our whole deeper. secretary gates before he left, he said, the biggest thing that's eating the lunch in the defense department is the department of health within it that manages the health things. because we've not done an appropriate job of having some slight rise in premiums to cover some of the tremendous benefit. nobody else in the country gets the benefits that we give with tricare. nobody. $550 a year for family, $275 if you're single and no co-pay and no deductible. and all it would take is $24 a year by our tricare prime to pay to make sure that the people with disabilities and the people with autism have the appropriate therapies and they're covered under tricare. so one of the things that i would ask, i would ask my colleague from new york if she would mind withdrawing her amendment to be voted on later
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that i might be able to offer a second-degree amendment in maybe that way or another way pay for this out of things we know are going on that we could find $1.9 billion over the next ten years to actual pay for this over the cost of -- actual pail for this over the next ten years. we didn't talk about that beforehand. i don't know if she'd be willing to do that. but there's no way you should justify taking another $1.9 billion out of the operation and maintenance program for our troops to health care. we ought to eliminate something that doesn't take away from their training time, flying time, shooting time or sailing time. we ought to be taking it from somewhere else. but that's where this is going to come from. and so i applaud what she's doing. she's right about fixing the problem. she's totally opposite of what we should be doing in terms of paying for it. and i would offer to work in good faith in the next hour to try to come up with a
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second-degree amendment that would be acceptable to my colleague and to the ranking and chairman of this committee that would actually pay for it. so with that, i'd yield the floor and reserve the balance of my time. the presiding officer: who yields time? let me repeat, who yields time? mr. coburn: how much time is remaining, madam president? the presiding officer: 5 minutes for senator coburn and six minutes for senator gillibrand are remaining. mr. mccain: will the senator yield me two minutes? mr. coburn: i would be happy to yield.
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the presiding officer: the senator from arizona. mr. mccain: madam president, there's no one that i know of in this body at any time that would not want to assist and provide the best care for our especially disabled children who have autism. it's one of the most compelling stories that any of us have ever seen. but i think it's also important for us to recognize that when we continue to add on benefits without a hearing, without any scrutiny, without balancing where it is in the array of priorities that we have and without paying for it. it seems to me that in the -- in the budget that we have and the expenditures that we have to just say, as the distinguished senator from new york just stated, well, we'll address it next year. we'll -- we'll get that taken
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care of. well, we all know what the hardest thing around here is, is to find funds for programs. so i appreciate more than i can say the dedication of the senator from new york on this issue, but here we go again. we're going to now bestow another entitlement which is not paid for. now, in all due respect, i say to the senator from new york, why don't you give us something to pay for it with? why don't you come up with an offset that would then not have us increase the debt by -- i ask my friend from oklahoma -- $1.9 billion. we're now adding a cost of $1.9 billion in the name of one of the most humane and compelling causes that any of us know. but don't we have an obligation to the taxpayers? we have an obligation to the taxpayers here to say, we're going to take care of this -- these special-needs americans
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but we're going to pay for it. instead, we're going to lay an additional burden on the taxpayers of america, which someday is going to have to be paid for. someday. may not be in this bill but someday it's going to have to be paid for. so i'd like to see the senator from new york -- obviously this amendment is going to pass. but i would love to see the senator from new york tell us how we're going to pay for it. i don't think that's a -- an outrageous demand. i yield. the presiding officer: the senator from new york. mrs. gillibrand: well, i want to thank my colleagues for their statements of support for meeting the needs of the children that do suffer from autism and other developmental disorders. and i do appreciate and believe their sincerity in wanting to make sure they are covered with the treatments that they need. i think that we can work together to reform the tricare system. it's one that has not had the kind of reform that it needs. but this is just an
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authorization for one year to meet the needs of these kids now because i don't want to wait until we figure it out and figure out the rest of the program. in addition, we did have a hearing, we had scientists and doctors and those who are medical professionals come to -- to testify in front of the armed services subcommittee. through that testimony, we established that the only reason why the d.o.d. wasn't covering this was because they believed it was an educational program. and what we established and what the medical literature says, it's actually a medically necessary treatment in the same way you'd give a child who's sick a medicine. and so i want to address the needs of these kids now. i will commit to working with you to reforming tricare so we can actually pay for programs over the long term and reform it in a way that's consistent with the benefits that our troops so desperately need. mr. coburn: madam president, might i ask through the chair the senator from new york if she would consider for a short period of time withdrawing her amendment and then allowing me
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to develop a second-degree amendment that would actually pay for this so that it both -- we would accomplish her goal and i think all of our goal of making sure the proper treatment's there but won't handicap the armed services in terms of delayed training, less training, less flight time? because it's going to come out of the operation and maintenance budget. and i would wonder if she would do that, with the ashiewrches the chair, with the -- assurance of the chair, with the assurance of the ranking and chairman of the committee that your amendment would still be considered? mrs. gillibrand: i would urge my colleague -- madam president, i would urge my colleague to take a more lengthy time to consider how to reform tricare and pay for this program than just an hour or two. i would like to pass this amendment now. right now operation and maintenance has $174 billion a year in it. this is $45 million for one year just to get the treatments in place for these families. in a one-year's time, we will have more accountability and transparency on what the real cost is. this is just an estimate. so what we want to do is be able
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to have more facts and then go to reform the tricare system properly. and i commit to you, i will work with you on that. this is only authorized for one year. mr. mccain: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from arizona. mr. mccain: i believe it was ronald reagan that said the closest thing to eternal life here on earth is a government program. and, again, our complaints that we continue to hear from our constituents is that we've mortgaged our children and our grandchildren's futures. and to somehow say, well, we're only authorizing this program for one year, does the senator from new york really believe that once we start treating children with autism, that we are going to terminate that program? does she really believe that? of course not. of course not. we have an obligation to the men and women of this -- the citizens of this country that we have saddled with a $16 trillion
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debt that we pay, we find ways to pay and sacrifice ourselves fiscally to pay for worthwhile programs. so i would support a second-degree amendment from the senator from oklahoma, which is his right -- it's his right to do so. and i don't see how we fulfill our obligation to our citizens by continuing to authorize and appropriate expenditure of their tax dollars without a way to pay for it except to take it out of our taxpayers' pockets. that's not right. it's not right.e and the senator from new york knows it's not right. for us to -- no matter how worthy the cause, for us to continue this spend, spend, spend, debt, debt, debt, that the american people are saddled w we are now -- i probably won't be paying for the national debt
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much but my kids will, my grandkids will. and can't we say, look, this is a worth hillwhile program. we also propose taking care of people with autism and here's how we propose to pay for it. that would be a unique experience around this body. i yield. the presiding officer: who yields time? mr. coburn: the remaining portion of my time. jill july i yielmrs. gillibrandk my time. mr. coburn: the senator from new york would like to ask for the yeas and nays? mrs. gillibrand: i ask the yeas and nays. the presiding officer: is there a sufficient second? mrs. gillibrand: request a voice vote. the presiding officer: the senator from michigan. mrs. gillibrand: i request a voice vote. mr. coburn: madam president, i think we ought to have a recorded vote on this, since we're really not paying for it.
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and we are taking $1.9 billion out of the budget of the defense department. so i would ask that we have a recorded vote. the presiding officer: is there a sufficient second? there appears to be. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
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the presiding officer: are there senator wishing to vote or to change their vote? if not, on this vote, the yeas are 66, the nays are 29. the amendment is agreed to. [inaudible] mr. levin: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from michigan. mr. levin: mr. president, i believe senator portman may be ready with an amendment and that has been cleared and i believe can be voice voted. i'm wondering if my friend from ohio could confirm my understanding that he is ready to proceed and that he is
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willing to take a voice vote on this? mr. portman: yeah, that would be great. i'm willing to take a voice vote and i believe it's going to be accepted. the presiding officer: does the senator from ohio seek recognition? mr. portman: mr. president, i do seek recognition. i ask that -- unanimous consent that the pending amendment be set aside and i call up amendment number 2956. the presiding officer: without objection. the clerk will report the amendment. the clerk: the senator from ohio, mr. portman, for himself and mr. akaka, proposes an amendment numbered 2956. at the end of subtitle f of title 5, add the following. mr. portman: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent the reading of the amendment be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. portman: mr. president, this is a pretty simple amendment. it has to do with correcting a problem that we have found in ohio and around the country. amendment number 2956 simply calls on the secretary of defense to work to standardize the educational transcripts of separating service members.
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i appreciate senator akaka's leadership and cosponsorship of this amendment. it's an important issue to a lot of our veterans as they are seeking to pursue their educational opportunities after being in the service. the presiding officer: the senate will be in orderment the senator will continue. mr. portman: they seek to use the g.i. bill or other benefits to further their education after taking off the uniform, they sometimes find that they've got an issue getting credit for the work they've done in the service. each service member is issued a transcript upon leaving active duty and the transcript equates military training and instruction to academic credits. so colleges and universities then use these transcripts to award transfer credit to veteran students. unfortunately, there is a significant difference in the types of transcripts issued by each of the military services. so as a result, two veterans from different services who took the exact same military courses could receive significantly different academic credit at the same school. now, if you multiply that across the services, all of our veteran students and across all the
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colleges and universities in this country, you know, we end up with some real issues. we ends up with many veterans losing out on credit they deserve as well as very well-intentioned colleges and universities spending a lot of time and resources trying to make sense of all these differences to help this process for veterans. it on which falls on th on whice veteran -- often falls on the veteran service offices in these schools. and as my colleagues know, these veterans service offices should be spending time assisting veterans with transition, which is sometimes a difficult challenge. ohio has been leading on this issue and has organized public and private schools, our state board of regents, even the ohio national guard to try to bring some sense to it. and that's been helpful. but it would be far easier and far better to standardize the military transcripts themselves. it would avoid, again, a lot of this -- a lot of the issues, a lot of the bureaucracy. the department of defense has recognized some of these issues and i think they started down the path of developing a joint services transcript. this is an important first step and through this amendment we seek an understanding of those
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requirements, their implementation plan for this kind of initiative, should it be in place, in order to see it on a path to a swift and thorough resolution. so i think this is one that again, as the chairman was asking, could be voice voted. i hope will be. so, mr. president, i ask for a voice vote on the pending amendment. the presiding officer: is there any further debate on the amendment? hearing none, all those in favor say aye. all those opposed? the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. the amendment is agreed to. mr. levin: reconsider. a senator: lay it on the table. the presiding officer: without objection. the senator from michigan. mr. levin: mr. president, i wonder if we could get unanimous consent that senator casey be allowed to proceed as though in morning business to comment on pending amendment -- on filed amendments for, was it ten minutes?
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i'm sorry. ten minutes? would that be -- i ask unanimous consent. the presiding officer: is there objection? mr. levin: i ask unanimous consent that senator casey be allowed to proceed as though in morning business. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. casey: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from pennsylvania. mr. casey: thank you, mr. president. i rise today to talk about our nation's military in light of the legislation we're considering. i want to commend chairman levin and ranking member mccain and all those who are working on it. just have some comments on a number of amendments and a few issues. for more than a decade now, our nation's been at war and in that time period, the men and women of the u.s. armed services have courageously served in afghanistan and iraq and assisted communities after disasters and continued to provide stability across the world. as the military draws down from foreign engagements and strategic directions are reassessed, the united states senate should do the same with
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regard to these issues. unlike previous debates on the national defense authorization act, this year the bill before us seeks to clarify the role of the military for the next decade or more. we're being asked to evaluate how large our military needs to be as we assess our near- and long-term threats. we're being asked to evaluate what equipment and resources this fighting force will need to keep the peace and to combat new aggressors. and while we're being asked to evaluate programs that we have introduced over the past decade to support our service members and their families. just a coupl -- couple of issues that are relevant to this debate, one which has particular significance for southwestern pennsylvania. and this is with regard to the military's force structure. i have been alarmed at two proposals submitted by the air force as it seeks to
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restructure. in pennsylvania, the air force has sought to eliminate the pittsburgh air reserve station where approximately 1,500 reservists and civilians are committed to serving our nation. after numerous briefings and hearings, the air force has yet to provide us, to provide my office and i think other offices as well with a thorough analysis of several of their proposals. these proposals as presented have failed to reflect the low overhead costs, efficiencies and values -- i should say and the value of the 9/11 airlift wing. for example, the 911th has developed an aircraft maintenance program that has resulted in more aircraft availability days while saving the department more than $42 million over the last five years. the air force continues to reiterate that they must find
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savings in this tight budget environment. if this is true, i'm not convinced that the closing of one of their most efficient bases meets this objective of cost savings. i'm also disturbed to see how the air force reserve continues to be treated during this process. while the guard and active components have been mostly protected, the air force reserve, including the 911th in pittsburgh, has borne the brunt of these proposed cuts. therefore, i am pleased that chairman levin and the members of the armed services committee have worked to prevent the air force from moving forward with these proposals in fiscal year 2013. i also asked our colleagues to join -- i should say ask other colleagues to join senators begich, gillibrand and i on amendment numbered 2952 that seeks to prevent the military from using a back-door brac process to substantially reduce or close bases, especially without justifying to congress
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their intentions. on behalf of pennsylvania's air force reserve, i will continue to fight for a reasoned and balanced restructuring of the air force. the second issue i wanted to raise was the so-called t.a.a. program. we know that our long-term strategic interests must also secure the future of service members and veterans alike. today i have introduced an amendment that provides tans to our service members and their families. it's amendment numbered 2297, the transition assistant advisors program, so-called t.a.a. program. it seeks to make permanent an increase the numbers of transition assistance advisors in every state. these advisors coordinate resources for the reserve components members and their families to help these individuals and a half the -- navigate the myriad of service
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programs provided by the veterans care organizations and other supporting agencies. these advisories are considered a force multiplier by the national guard bureau. the t.a.a., the assistance advisors enhance the bureau's outreach capabilities, serve as a vital link between service members and the benefits to which they are entitled, and in the last two years since this initiative was launched, 62 of these advisors have reached more than 194,000 veterans and their families. yet, 62 advisors can only do so much. all too often, i hear from my national guard constituents and their spouses about how confusing it is to navigate military procedures and benefits, especially as they go on and off duty every few years. our citizen soldiers have answered the call to serve our nation in times of need. shouldn't we be doing everything we can to help them navigate these complicated mazes when
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they return home? i think the answer to that question is a resounding yes. last year, congress authorized end strengths of 464,900 guardsmen and women in the army and air national guard. on average, this comes to an average of one transition assistance advisor, just one per 7,497 service members and their families. obviously, not enough advisors to help our families. i believe this ratio does a disservice to citizen soldiers and to airmen as well as others and their families. i ask my colleagues to support in strengthening this program as our veterans of iraq and afghanistan try to reintegrate back into their lives. i'd like to thank senators leahy, blumenthal, tester, mikulski and wyden for cosponsoring this important amendment. and finally, my last issue.
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this involves women in afghanistan. in addition to making important adjustments to the size and strength of our military, the authorization act also helps to shape strategic priorities in critical regions. in afghanistan, we're reducing the u.s. presence and transitioning security responsibility to afghan forces. it is critical that this process protect the gains that have been made over the last ten years, particularly with regard to the rights and opportunities of afghan women and girls. i'm concerned that as an -- our international forces draw down, extremists threaten to once again restrict afghan women's mobility and opportunities for participation in public life. women who are active in public life face serious threats to their personal safety in afghanistan, and girls have been the targets of extremist violence simply for going to school. we all know the story that was
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written about the acid thrown in the face of two young girls. that was repeated numerous times across the country. afghan forces are not doing enough to counter these influences and protect women and their communities. this doesn't just threaten afghan women and afghan girls. it threatens the success of the security transition in afghanistan that we're paying for, that we have invested in that our fighting men and women have fought and died for. when know that when women security deteriorates, it can be an early indicator of a worsening security condition overall. i'm very concerned that if we neglect women's security in afghanistan during this transition period, this -- and if we stand by while women are forced out of public life and have their voice silenced by extremists, we will see a less stable and a less secure afghanistan in 2014 and beyond.
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that's why senator hutchison and i have introduced the afghan women and girls security promotion act and offered it as an amendment to the national defense authorization act. we're proud to be joined by senators mikulski, feinstein, gillibrand, murkowski, snow, lautenberg, cardin and boxer. here is what the legislation does. it requires the department of defense to produce a plan, just a plan, to produce a plan to promote the security of afghan women and girls during the transition process, including monitoring and responding to changes in women's security. second, it must -- the department of defense must improve -- work to improve gender sensitivity and responsiveness among afghan national security forces personnel. third, it increases recruitment and retention of women in the afghan national security forces. it will also require that the department of defense report on
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the implementation of this strategy and its results in semi annual reports that are filed. when i last visited afghanistan, leading a co-delegation in august of 2011, i was privileged to meet with a group of afghan women leaders and was impressed and inspired -- and that's an understatement -- inspired by their determination to continue the fight for women's rights, even in the face of extraordinary oppression and violence. one member of parliament, fazia kofi, lost her father and her husband as a result of her family's involvement in public, but she is still determined to be a leader in protecting women's rights and advancing afghanistan's democratic development. she and her colleagues, along with women across afghanistan, are prepared to do whatever it takes to make sure that their rights are protected and that they have a voice, a voice in
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their country's future. supporting them is not only in line with our values, our american values, it is critical to discouraging extremism and laying a foundation for a peaceful future in afghanistan. i'm glad that several of my colleagues have joined us as cosponsors on this important amendment and i hope we can see more support as we move forward. mr. president, i would yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from florida. mr. nelson: mr. president, the chairman has asked me to manage the bill in the meantime while he is working out with the leadership a list of amendments, so seeing no other senator that wants to speak at this point, if i may then, i will talk about an amendment that would be offered
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in the future. mr. president, i'm going to offer an amendment to repeal the offset in the department of defense and the v.a. benefits for military widows and widowers the stand-alone bill, s. 260, has wide support from military organizations and has 51 cosponsors in the senate. this is the ninth time that i have and will bring this amendment to the defense authorization act, and it's passed the senate six times over the past decade, including last year by voice vote. the senate has supported eliminating this offset for
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years, and i hope that this body will remain steadfast in its support for military widows and the survivors. mr. president, you will recall in a number of addresses that president lincoln gave that he spoke of the responsibility that the government has to take care of the veteran and his widow and orphans. and that is an ingrained principle within the law, and that is an ingrained principle as we uphold the finest fighting force in the world, which is our military. and what this amendment does, it
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addresses the long-standing problem faced by those survivors of people who are killed in action or whose death is related to the service in the military. the requirement for the dollar-for-dollar reduction of the department of defense survivor benefit plan, it is an annuity, it's offset by the amount of dependency and indemnity compensation that is received from another department, the department of veterans affairs. the survivor benefit plan from the department of defense is an optional program for military retirees offered by the department of defense. military retirees pay premiums out of their retirement pay to
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ensure that their survivors will have adequate income upon that service member's death. that is an insurance plan paid for by the military retiree. on the other hand, the dependency and indemnity compensation is a completely different survivor benefit. it's administered by the v.a. when military service caused the service member's death, either due to service-connected disability or illness, or active duty death, surviving spouses are entitled to a monthly compensation. most recently, that has been
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$1,154, and that comes from the v.a. that's as a result of death with a service-connected disability or illness or active duty death. now, of the 270,000 survivors that are receiving under the insurance plan the survivors benefit plan, about 54,000 of these widows and orphans are subject to the offset. and according to the defense actuary, 31,000 survivors s.b.p., the insurance plan, is completely offset by the dependency and indemnity compensation.
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meaning that the widow or the widower must live just on the d.i.c., which is $1,154. well, that's simply not fair, because if you engage in an insurance contract and you pay premiums in to give you a certain return upon the happening of an event, in this case the death of a retired military member, then that contract ought to be offered. but because this has been an expensive item in the past, what has happened over the years that this senator has been trying to eliminate this offset, is we have wheedled it down but not completely done the
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complete offset. and the fact is that the group of people affected, the group of widows or widowers, is getting smaller and smaller and therefore is going to cost less. and so i know of no purchased annuity plan that would deny payout based on the receipt of a different benefit, which is the case here. retirees bought into the s.b.p., the insurance plan, in good faith. these military families plan for the future, and the government failed to hold up its end of the bargain. the military has a long-standing tradition never to leave a comrade behind, but that's what we're doing to the military survivors, the widows and the
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orphans. we are not taking care of those who are left behind. we must meet our obligation to the widow and the orphan with the same sense of honor as was the service that their loved one had rendered. we must eliminate this s.b.p. d.i.c. offset. it is the right thing to do, and it's going to cost a lot less than when i tried this 11 years ago, but there will be cost. but we have to start by setting the policy of what is right. so, mr. president, let me see, i see no senator seeking recognition, so i would yield the floor and i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll.
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quorum call: a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from california. mrs. boxer: i would ask that the quorum call be dispensed with, please. the presiding officer: without objection. mrs. boxer: thank you so much, mr. president. just in the lull here and if there is any legislative business to take place, i will immediately give up the floor, but in this lull i just want to make a point. i am so proud to be in this senate, so proud to be here for a long time now, came here in 1993, there were two women, we went to six women, now we're going to 20 women and i've seen changes and i've seen good things and i've seen rough things. but i have to say one of the things that keeps coming up continually here is folks trying
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to use these debates on bills to add irrelevant amendments, amendments that have nothing to do with the topic at hand. i think we all agree that defending our nation is our number-one priority, and therefore having a defense authorization bill is very, very important. and i'm sure that we don't agree with every single sentence of this bill, but in general we all want to make sure that our military is prepared, that they're paid well, that they get good benefits, that we have a strong military that we can meet every threat, and again we're going to disagree on what all that means, but at least when we legislate we ought to make sure that when we offer amendments, they're either noncontroversial and committee chairs have signed off if it's in their jurisdiction, or we don't offer them. and the reason i wanted to rise
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today is that we may be facing two environmental riders on this bill, and i just want to go on record as saying i'm not going to let that happen. now, if colleagues want to override and stay here through the night and the weekend, it's fine, but i'm going to be staying right here because, mr. president, one of these amendments would say that the e.p.a. under the toxics control act could never regulate the ingredients in ammunition, which means they could never regulate lead, they could never regulate per cloarate and they kill and they harm and they do damage to the thyroid and to brain development and to behaviors of children and pregnant women are harmed. so i am not going to allow an
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environmental rider get onto this floor and passed when we're doing a defense bill which is meant to protect people. i can tell you right now, you don't put a harmful environmental rider in the defense bill when you're trying to pass a bill to protect our people. not make it easier for them to be exposed to dangerous lead, dangerous perchlorate and other chemicals. there is a time and place to do those amendments, on a relevant bill, a bill that comes out of the environment committee, that's fine. we can debate it then. and have a vote when everyone understands the ramification. now, there's another -- there's another threat here to have another environmental rider that deals with coal ash, the regulation of coal ash. what does that have to do with the military bill? zero. the components of coal ash are a
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huge danger to people. we've seen the coal ash pile up and get loose, and in the east just go down in a rain storm and destroy whole communities. and there's an environmental rider waiting to be offered which would welcome the e.p.a.'s ability to go to that threat and get rid of it. and i'm just very distressed. i'm sure you can hear it in my voice. i know there are differences around here, but i take my job seriously. as chairman of the environment committee, my job is to protect the public health from toxins like lead, like perchlorate and the amazing collection of chemicals you have in coal ash that kill and harm and maim.
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so i know people want to get this bill done, and believe me, i want get this bill done. i have several amendments in this bill that are so important, and i want thank colleagues on both sides of the aisle, particularly senator cornyn and senator snowe who helped me with an amendment that would say if you've been convicted of sexual assault, you can no longer join the military. that's in this bill. that's very important. and we have other amendments we've worked on, and i want thank senators levin and mccain. they have reached out to the committee chairs and they've said look, we're trying to protect your jurisdiction, but they have now said they have no agreement, that our jurisdiction would be protected. so as much as i don't want to sit here and stand guard, i'm going to do it because i think that's my role and that's my job. and i want to thank you very
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much for this moment to express the reason i've been on the floor all av and will continue to be on the floor until we adjourn this evening. i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call:

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